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Posts tagged ‘Barbara Buono’

Christie Blasts ‘Washington Attitude’ But Doesn’t Mention Scandals in Inaugural.

Image: Christie Blasts 'Washington Attitude' But Doesn't Mention Scandals in Inaugural

Governor Chris Christie didn’t mention the New Jersey controversies threatening a possible 2016 presidential run as he began his second term by blasting political gamesmanship and called for bipartisan compromises.

“We cannot fall victim to the attitude of Washington,” the 51-year-old Republican said in remarks prepared for his inaugural address in Trenton. “The attitude that says I am always right and you are always wrong. The attitude that puts everyone into a box they are not permitted to leave. The attitude that puts political wins ahead of policy agreements. The belief that compromise is a dirty word.”

Challenges such as investigations of his office’s Hurricane Sandy spending and ties to politically motivated traffic jams come “out of nowhere, to test you,” Christie said last week. This weekend, another arose as a mayor accused his administration of threatening to withhold disaster aid unless she endorsed a redevelopment project. Today, with snow bearing down, the 51-year-old governor canceled an inaugural celebration at Ellis Island, a high-profile venue that had been taken as a sign that he might court a national electorate.

The governor and his family attended a prayer service today at Newark’s New Hope Baptist Church. The pastor, the Rev. Joe A. Carter, reminded the audience that hardships are ever present.

“All of us, at one time or another, have to deal with times of testing and seasons of frustration,” Carter said.

Muted Tones

The governor, ordinarily a clear-voiced, high-energy speaker, has appeared tired since Jan. 9, the day he told reporters he was “a sad guy” during an almost two-hour news conference to address the jams on the George Washington Bridge.

“He knows he’s in trouble,” said Peter Woolley, a politics professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey. “He’s concerned that long-time friends and associates are clearly in trouble.”

Christie’s calls for smaller government and lower taxes made him a national figure during his first term. He turned down calls to run for president in 2011, but hasn’t ruled out a 2016 bid. He became chairman of the Republican Governors Association in November.

“I do not believe that New Jerseyans want a bigger, more expensive government that penalizes success and then gives the pittance left to a few in the name of income equity,” he said today after taking the oath of office. “What New Jerseyans want is an unfettered opportunity to succeed in the way they define success. They want an equal chance at the starting; not a government guaranteed result.”

Broad Assessment

Last month, Christie was neck and neck with Democrat Hillary Clinton, 48 percent to 46 percent, in a CNN/ORC International poll based on a hypothetical 2016 presidential race. The edge was within the margin of error.

Now he is at the center of an inquiry unprecedented in the New Jersey governor’s office. Democrats, who control both houses of the legislature, are examining whether Christie or members of his administration had knowledge of the lane closings and whether they tried to cover it up.

Legislative committees on Jan. 16 issued 20 subpoenas to individuals and organizations.

Bridge Game

The administration’s ties to the traffic messes came to light in a cache of e-mails and text messages obtained on Jan. 8 by news outlets. “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Kelly wrote on Aug. 13 to David Wildstein, a Christie ally at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the George Washington Bridge. “Got it,” Wildstein replied.

For four days starting Sept. 9, two of three access lanes from Fort Lee to the bridge were closed. Typical half-hour delays on the New Jersey side stretched to four hours or more.

Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat who hadn’t joined colleagues to cross party lines and endorse Christie for re- election, asked the governor’s appointees at the Port Authority whether he was being punished. He got no answer.

On Jan. 9, a day after the e-mail trail was published, Christie apologized and said he was “outraged” and “saddened” by lies within his administration. The governor said he had nothing to do with the tie-ups.

His troubles grew Jan. 13, when the independent inspector general of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said it was auditing Christie’s expenditure of $25 million in federal Sandy disaster aid on a “Stronger Than The Storm” ad campaign featuring Christie, his wife and their four children.

New Accusation

Then, this weekend, Hoboken’s mayor accused Christie’s administration of muscling her over the redevelopment project.

Christie’s office immediately rebutted the claims by Dawn Zimmer, a Democrat. But Zimmer said in a statement that she met Jan. 19 with federal investigators.

Her allegations will be included in lawmakers’ probe, said Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Democrat co-leading the probe. The Assembly and Senate plan to conduct a joint investigation with help from Reid Schar, the lead prosecutor in the corruption trials of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Christie ran up record public approval in the wake of Sandy in October 2012. He beat his Democratic challenger, state Senator Barbara Buono, by 22 percentage points in November.

“It matters what the public believes,” said Woolley of Fairleigh Dickinson. “It’s the tide of public opinion that will stay with him or turn against him. Where that tide turns, or doesn’t, is not always on the facts of the case.”
© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

Christie’s Star Dims as Stories of Bullying, Double Dealing Emerge.

Image: Christie's Star Dims as Stories of Bullying, Double Dealing Emerge

By Sandy Fitzgerald

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is still a favorite in presidential polls, but the popular politician is already being singled out by Democrats and in the national media before he has announced his future intentions.

“It’s all a setup,” Michael Steele, who chaired the Republican National Committee in 2009, when Christie first ran for governor, told The Daily Beast. “It’s unbelievable. It says to me that there are interests in the media and in politics who don’t want the status quo to change, and who actually like this red/blue politics crisis-management model.”

Urgent: Do You Like Chris Christie? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

Just two months ago, Christie beat Democratic opponent Barbara Buono by a 21-point margin. Since then, polls have shown him in a virtual tied race with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the presidency, with a CNN survey showing him as being slightly ahead.

The media attacks did not come far behind his second-term win. Last week, a front page article in The New York Times painted Christie as a bully who uses his political power to get revenge against his enemies.

Among several complaints, The Times article included the “Bridgegate” scandal, which targets Christie as being behind closing access lanes from Fort Lee, N.J. on to the George Washington Bridge. The lanes were shut down for four days after the city’s Democratic mayor refused to back Christie’s re-election campaign, and two Port Authority officials have resigned their posts over the issue.

In addition, the book “Double Down” was released just before the November election, using details from former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s vice presidential vetting team. The book painted Christie as being a politician who did favors for his allies and lobbied for business interests of people like Bernie Madoff.

Christie loyalists say that the governor is used to media scrutiny. One aide said that he’s also not surprised when “media outlets and Democratic organizations make him a target.”

Steele said such negative coverage plays itself out in many ways, “sometimes aided by the main target, sometimes by subordinates or opposition camps. There’s a tendency to reach that turning point so that the knives come out and the new narrative begins.”

However, it’s not just the liberal media that has turned against Christie. Conservative commentator Glenn Beck recently blasted Christie during an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, calling the New Jersey Republican “a fat nightmare” and labeling him as a “progressive.”

Some of the scrutiny also started in November 2012, when Christie hugged President Barack Obama after Superstorm Sandy, which experts say will likely haunt him if he runs for the presidency.

But even with the negative coverage, Steele said, Christie “is the same guy today as he was when he sat in my office when I was national chairman during his first bid for the governorship of New Jersey . . . He’s still the same breath of fresh air, the same guy who can create a new narrative for the Republican Party and the country, which is longing and starving for it.”

Steele says Christie needs to be sure he doesn’t become his “own worst enemy” and fuel
new headlines.

Urgent: Do You Like Chris Christie? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Latino Voters: Christie Flip-flopping on Tuition for Illegal Immigrants.

Image: Latino Voters: Christie Flip-flopping on Tuition for Illegal Immigrants

Gov. Chris Christie answers questions from students and reporters at Jose Marti Freshman Academy in Union City on Nov. 6.
By Courtney Coren

Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is flip-flopping on in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, after saying it was something he supported during his gubernatorial campaign in an effort to garner the Latino vote, immigrant advocates claim. The New Jersey Republican said during a debate with his Democratic opponent Barbara Buono that he would support a reduced tuition for those in the United States illegally. But on Monday he said that, while he still supported lower in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, he could not sign the bill just passed by the State Senate that would make it legal, The New York Times reported. “When he was running for election he was running to be able to say, ‘Look, I am the only Republican who can win the Latino vote,” said Giancarlo Tello of the New Jersey Tuition Equity for Dreamers Coalition. “Now that he already got the election, he’s already flip-flopping.” Christie said that the reason he cannot sign the bill is because it allows out-of-state residents to pay in-state costs for New Jersey boarding schools and also qualifies them for in-state college tuition, turning the Garden State into a “magnet state” for illegal immigrants. “They’re overreaching and they’re making it unsignable,” he said. While immigrant advocates were puzzled by his comments, the New Jersey governor’s spokesman said Wednesday that Christie still “supports New Jerseyans receiving in-state tuition, no matter how they came to this country.” Christie won re-election in a landslide Nov. 5 and is seen as one of the top potential presidential candidates for 2016. Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

NJ Star-Ledger Endorses Christie with ‘Deep Reservations, Better at Politics than Governing’.

Image: NJ Star-Ledger Endorses Christie with 'Deep Reservations, Better at Politics than Governing'

New Jersey’s Newark-based Star-Ledger newspaper has endorsed Republican Gov. Chris Christie for re-election despite a running feud between the editorial editor and Governor’s Mansion.

The grudging endorsement acknowledged that Christie is a remarkable political talent who managed to split the Democratic legislative majority. The Star-Ledger had little positive to say about his governing ability. Citing “modest” achievements overwhelmed by “measurable failures” then concluding: “He is much better at politics than he is at governing.”

The paper complained that property taxes are up, the budget is depleted, the state’s credit rating has dropped and that Christie threatened the independence of the judiciary.

Even on his handling of Hurricane Sandy – widely applauded in New Jersey – the record is, in fact, mixed, says the paper.

The Star-Ledger concludes it unenthusiastic endorsement with: “Our own view is that Christie is overrated. His spin is way ahead of his substance.”

The editorial writer said the newspaper endorsed Christie only because State Sen. Barbara Buono, his progressive Democratic challenger, “is a deeply flawed candidate” beholden to the unions and lacking in political acumen.

Christie once mocked Star-Ledger Editorial Page Editor Tom Moran as “the thinnest-skinned guy in America,” according to Business Insider.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Elliot Jager

NJ Republicans Struggle While Christie’s Popularity Soars.

Image: NJ Republicans Struggle While Christie's Popularity Soars

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Opinion polls show New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is leading in his race for re-election by a 2-to-1 margin, but his fellow Republicans may not take control of the legislature. And,USA Today reports, the potential 2016 presidential candidate, may not want them to.
Presenting himself as a leader who can work with Democrats in the legislature and as a Republican who can win Blue State voters could give him more political mileage if he runs for president, the newspaper reported Thursday.
Christie is on track to be the first Republican to win more than 50 percent of votes cast in New Jersey since 1985. His popularity may be tied to the fact that he repeatedly stresses the idea of bipartisanship over divisive politics.
“Everything we’ve done has been a bipartisan accomplishment,” the governor says in a television campaign ad. “As long as you stick to your principles, compromise isn’t a dirty word.”
Democrats have been in charge of both chambers of the state legislature since 2003. All 120 seats are up for re-election this year, and Republicans need to pick up five seats in the Senate and nine in the Assembly to take over control.
Some have complained that Christie hasn’t done enough campaigning on behalf of his own party candidates. But redistricting in the state favors Democrats, according to Carl Golden, spokesman for former Republican Gov. Thomas Kean.
“He has not been out there going district to district, at least in those districts that might be considered competitive and there are . . . few of those,” Golden said of Christie. “His absence is notable.”
Also notable is the fact that the Republican governor has been endorsed by several key Democrats and more than 50 Democratic elected officials statewide, which makes Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono‘s campaign against Christie a monumental battle.
Even Democrats running for re-election are quick to point out how they worked with Christie, including Newark Mayor and Senator-Elect Cory Booker, who defeated challenger Steve Lonegan this week in a special election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
Christie’s decision to hold the Senate special election three weeks before the regularly scheduled state election on Nov. 5 may also have helped put Booker into office, some political observers note.
Had both elections been held on the same day, Lonegan may have gotten extra votes from the Republicans turning out to support Christie.
Should he decide to run for president, having a Democratic-controlled legislature could also be used by Christie as scapegoat for some of his failed initiatives, reports USA Today. For example, he has not been able to push through a proposed cut in income taxes. He has also had difficulty getting his Supreme Court nominees confirmed. But a landslide victory, as predicted with both Republican and Democratic voters supporting his re-election, could help right some of those failures.
Christie has not said whether he plans to run for president. In a recent debate with Buono he said he does not believe “anybody in America, or in the state of New Jersey, expects anybody three years away to tell them what they’re going to do.”
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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Critics Say Christie Strategy Sealed Booker Victory.

Image: Critics Say Christie Strategy Sealed Booker Victory

By John Gizzi

Although most pundits believe the easy win by Democrat Cory Booker in the New Jersey special Senate election Wednesday was a foregone conclusion, there’s another theory: Had Republican Gov. Chris Christie handled the situation differently, the outcome might have been quite different.

“Had Gov. Christie appointed a moderate-conservative with a known name — say, [state Senate Republican Leader] Tom Kean Jr. — after [incumbent Frank] Lautenberg died, and then scheduled the Senate race for the same day as the race for governor, Booker might just have been defeated,” a former Republican U.S. House member told Newsmax.

Christie did none of the above.

Following Lautenberg’s death in June, the governor named fellow Republican and state Attorney General Jeff Chiesa to serve as senator for four months.

Chiesa would not run for a full term and, in a move that disappointed many fellow Republicans, the governor chose the unusual date of Oct. 16 — a Wednesday — rather than Nov. 5, for the special election.

Had he chosen the latter, the Republican Senate nominee would be on the ticket with Christie the same day of what is shaping up to be his landslide re-election over Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono.

Instead, Republican Steve Lonegan was handily defeated Wednesday by Booker, who won 59 percent of the vote.

Critics of Christie’s strategy sharply contrast his “hands-off” attitude on the race to that of the late Michigan Gov. George Romney when faced with a similar situation in 1966.

While running for re-election that year, the father of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney placed maximum priority on securing a full term for the Republican he had appointed to a Senate vacancy.

Following the death of Democratic Sen. Patrick McNamara on April 30, 1966, Romney appointed Republican Rep. Robert P. Griffin, who already was seeking the Republican Senate nod. Griffin was facing a stiff battle in the fall from former Democratic Gov. G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams.

“The governor started out the canvassing three weeks earlier than in 1964 and worked harder,” wrote pundits Stephen Hess and David Broder in their classic 1967 book “The Republican Establishment.” “He opened a joint headquarters in Detroit, an arrangement previously unheard of in a Romney campaign. On bus placards, billboards, brochures, and television, Romney and Griffin were paired as ‘The Action Team for the Action State.'”

“The governor’s speeches actually seemed to gloss over his own accomplishments in order to dwell at length on the need to elect Griffin,” who Romney called “the ablest man Michigan has sent to the Senate since Arthur Vandenberg.”

Bill Gnodtke, who worked on Griffin’s campaign doing everything from licking stamps to driving the candidate, vividly recalled Romney’s assistance.

“Gov. Romney really went all-out for Bob Griffin,” Gnodtke, who would go on to become finance chairman and treasurer of the Michigan Republican Party, told Newsmax, “He did regional TV spots with him, marched with him at the Labor Day parade in Detroit, and had him on the campaign bus.

“When the governor spoke of a Romney ‘Action Team,’ he meant Bob Griffin, his running-mates for lieutenant governor, state attorney general, and secretary of state, and our legislative candidates,” Gnodtke said.

“Sensational,” is how Romney himself described the November results. In gaining the second-largest gubernatorial majority in Michigan history, he swept all but the largest and smallest of Michigan counties (Wayne and Keweenaw).

As Romney won by 527,047 votes, Griffin defeated Williams by 294,146 votes to become Michigan’s first elected Republican senator in 14 years. The GOP won five contested U.S. House races in the state, took over the state senate, and scored a tie in the state House of Representatives.

With all 120 seats in the New Jersey legislature up for election on Nov. 5, Republicans need net gains of five to take control of the state Senate and nine to win the Assembly. With his eye on the White House, the governor might well consider what a Christie “Action Team” might do for New Jersey and for him.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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Booker Wins US Senate Election in NJ

Christie: DC’s an Alternate Universe

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Christie Backs Tuition for Illegals.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie confirmed his weekend switch to support of reduced tuition for illegal immigrants in a debate Tuesday with his re-election opponent, Democrat Barbara Buono.

The Republican governor said that he now backs the Tuition Equality Act, which would aid illegal immigrants in the state, The New York Times reports.

According to Fox News , : “I believe every child should be given the opportunity to reach their God-given potential … that’s a moral requirement,” Christie told the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey on Saturday, Fox News reported. “We need to get to work in the state legislature on things like making sure that there’s tuition equality for everybody in New Jersey.”

The comments represented a marked change from the governor’s longtime stance against letting illegal immigrants in New Jersey pay discounted, in-state tuition rates, according to news reports.

The bill would grant them in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities if they attend three years of high school in the state, receive a diploma from a New Jersey school, and promise to seek legalization once the opportunity arose, The Washington Times reports..

The legislation is stalled in the New Jersey legislature.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Todd Beamon

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